Finland must continue to develop the charging infrastructure for electric cars if it is to substantially increase the number of electric cars on its roads, according to two experts. (Credit: Sonja Meskanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE CHIEF of the Automobile and Touring Club of Finland (ATCF), Pasi Nieminen, has urged political parties to be more realistic about their road transport-related climate goals.

“You have to be more realistic about these. You have to remember that for every new car six used cars are sold in Finland. Finns drive used cars,” he stated in an interview on YLE TV1 on Tuesday. “This can’t be a revolution.”

“Electric cars won’t simply appear after it has been decided that we need this many hundreds of thousands by this year. Someone has to pay for them and bring them here,” added Nieminen.

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Both Nieminen and Janne Peljo, the project director for climate solutions at the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra), reminded in an interview with the public broadcaster that climate policy making must be clear, consistent and predictable in the long term.

The Social Democratic Party published its new climate policy programme last week, proposing that the next government determine a timetable for prohibiting combustion engine cars in passenger road traffic. The opposition party outlined that the number of low-emission and emission-free cars should be increased to 750,000 by 2030.

A parliamentary task force on transport climate policy has previously stated that the target for electric cars should be set to 670,000 by 2030 and 2,000,000 by 2045 and that for gas-powered cars to 130,00 by 2030 and 250,000 by 2045.

The goals can be met only if the charging infrastructure is developed further, according to Nieminen and Peljo.

“We’ll have to start thinking about the charging infrastructure, about how these cars will be charged,” commented Nieminen. “We’ll also need political decisions so that we can tell people how we’re moving forward. An own car is a substantial long-term investment for households. We have to have answers so that people can make their decisions.”

The National Coalition, meanwhile, revealed earlier this month that it would abolish the car tax on low-emission and emission-free cars by 2023.

Peljo estimated that shifting the focus of taxation is a good idea, as the current tax system strongly encourages consumers and retailers to import used diesel cars from abroad.

“We should shift away from taxing purchases to taxing emissions,” he said. “This should take place in a way that creates a wider tax shift: we’d raise taxes on emissions, meaning something we don’t want, and lower taxes on what we want, meaning work and entrepreneurship.”

“If consumers’ purchasing power increased as a result, it’d allow consumers to make bigger investments in cars. That way it could speed up the adoption of new, low-emission cars,” added Peljo.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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